EPA Settles With Pepsi-Cola Bottlers

Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers in Munster, Ind., will pay a penalty of $23,435 and implement $145,150 worth of environmental projects to settle alleged hazardous chemical release reporting violations.

EPA Region 5 settled an administrative complaint with Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers in Munster, Ind., for alleged violation of federal laws on the reporting of a hazardous chemical release.

The company will pay a civil penalty of $23,435 and pay for environmental projects valued at $145,150.

EPA''s September 1999 complaint alleged that, on Nov. 16, 1997, the Pepsi facility, in Munster, failed to promptly report the release of about 3,150 pounds of anhydrous ammonia from a pressurized refrigeration system.

Anhydrous ammonia may be fatal if inhaled for prolonged periods of time.

It causes burns to the skin and may cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.

Though no injuries were reported, the facility was evacuated and the release migrated beyond the Pepsi property to a nearby hospital.

All releases above 100 pounds must be reported promptly to the National Response Center (NRC), and to the state and local emergency planning committees.

The facility eventually notified the NRC and the Lake County Emergency Planning Committee more than 14 hours after the incident. In addition, a written follow-up report was also filed late.

The settlement includes a supplemental environmental project, valued at $145,150, in which the facility will install upgraded ammonia monitoring equipment, and a new pumped system for energy-efficient refrigeration.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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